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Archive for May, 2006

May 28th, 2006

Rape Of The Soul…But With Love

Imagine you’re a gay teenager, and you’ve either just come out to your parents, or been outed to them.  Imagine they react with anger and shame and contempt.  You’re a kid, going through adolescence, struggling with your emerging sexuality.   It’s a  confusing, embarrassing time when you begin to feel things, things about the attractive sex, that you’d never felt before.  Thrilling, confusing, embarrassing things.  You are a pervert, your parents tell you.  You’re going to catch AIDS and die before you’re 40 they tell you.  You’re a shame on your family name, and on them.  You’re going to hell.   

Imagine your parents force you into Love In Action to be cured.  Imagine you find yourself one day, inside the Love In Action program.  You are a young teenager, and you are in one of the group sessions, surrounded by older adults who have in their past engaged in sexual perversions and addictions the likes of which your teenage mind could never have conceived.  Imagine being force into exposing yourself, your deepest sexual thoughts and feelings, to these men, and being forced to listen as they expose themselves to you.  They are sexually broken, say the staff at Love In Action.  You are sexually broken, they tell you.  You, and the man next to you telling you how it is to fuck animals, are both sexually broken.  You are the same as they.  The sessions last for weeks.  There is no place inside of yourself that is safe from the staff at Love In Action, and you must expose it all to the men who fuck animals, rape children, and have never known what it is to have a healthy adult sex life.  You’re a young teenager.  Throughout it all you are told in word and in deed that you are no different from them.

Eventually, you begin to believe it.  You are finally dismissed from the Program, and perhaps you decide you are still gay and there is nothing wrong with that.  Or perhaps you try, as so many do, to stop being gay, only to discover you can no more choose your sexual orientation then you can choose whether to be right or left handed.  Perhaps some logical, rational part of your mind rejects what you were told about your sexuality at Love In Action.  But deep down inside, the seed is planted.  I’m a freak…There’s something wrong with me…with my sex…I’m a freak…I’m a freak…  You try to go on with your life, find yourself failing utterly to find love, emotional intimacy, peace…

Surely, nobody would do this to a child, even if they think that homosexuality is sinful and wrong.  Right?  You don’t understand.  Faith excuses everything.  Faith, and hate.  Peterson Toscano has an expanded post up now that you should read.

Back in January 2005, I met with the BBC crew that had just finished filming LIA/R. The presenter and the crew expressed shock at the treatment of the youth in the facility. They told me that adults and minors gathered together and talked about serious issues including prostitution, sexual abuse, and beastiality. They told me of a 16 year old lesbian placed in the program against her will. And the message that she received by being there is that her same-sex attractions are on the same level as a man having sex with animals.

I couldn’t believe it, so on June 1, 2005, when I bumped into John Smid at the Atlantia airport, I questioned him about this. (I had not yet heard of Zach’s story as it was just unfolding). He assured me that although the youth and the adults attended the some of the same sessions, they did not talk about their particular "issues", just their feelings.

Even if that were true, any 16 year old I know is smart enough to figure out within a half a day why everyone is in the program.

This fall, I spoke at length with a young man who was in the adult program this summer when Zach was also in attendance in Refuge, the youth program. I asked him to describe the sessions and he confirmed that adults and youth met together. When I asked, "But of course they don’t talk about issues, just emotions, right?" He replied that they talked about the issues often, in fact, each participant had to give an introduction which outlined the exact nature of their issues.

[Emphasis mine] Notice how John Smid was able to look Peterson right in the eye and tell him it wasn’t happening.  And it was.

Today, pumped up on the war rhetoric of saving youth from a culture set out to destroy them, potentially thoughtful and kind human beings who run LIA/R end up employing harmful strategies designed to scare these kids straight by any means necessary. Even if it means exposing them to pedophiles and people with extreme sexual fetishes. (The language reminds me of the fear-fueled war talk of the US Christian fascist group BattleCry)

I know folks from my time at LIA who before they entered the program never had sex with another person and were quite naive sexually. By the time they left, often with the shame of failure, armed with loads of details about what we thought of as "the gay lifestyle", they ended up living self-destructive lives filled with anonymous sexual encounters and worse addictions than they ever experienced before.

Go read the whole thing.   This is why I’m going to be in Memphis on June 5th.  If doing this to kids in the name of love appalls you, and you can make it to Memphis, then be there too.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Rape Of The Soul…But With Love

May 27th, 2006

The Road So Far…

From Memphis to Topeka…

Jesus Is

 

 Jesus Loves Unborn Children

 

 Morgan Jon Fox In Memphis

 

Grain Elevators – Topeka

 

 Grain Elevators – Topeka

 

I’m going to do a small loop around southwestern Kansas, maybe into New Mexico and Colorado, and then head back to Baltimore for a few days.  Maybe.  I am making no firm plans this road trip save for being back in Memphis on the 6th.  I want to see Liberal Kansas and the Oklahoma panhandle though.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

May 25th, 2006

3 Out Of 4 Doctors Recommend Our Product. Coincidentally, 3 out of 4 Doctors Work For Us.

Thousands of people have left the gay lifestyle.  Who says?  Why, as it turns out, the very same people who want to sell you ex-gay therapy

But back to the video [It’s Not Gay]… Nine exgays appear in it. How many make/made their living exgays? You guessed it, every single one of them.

Ex-Gay for pay, as Wayne Besen calls it.  And the sad thing is, as Daniel Gonzales at Ex-Gay Watch points out, most of these folks aren’t making a lot of money.  But just look at the roll call Gonzales lists in his post.  Founder of Kerusso Ministries…Former counseling Assistant at Love In Action…Social Research Analyst at Focus on the Family…Director of LIFE Coaching International…Counselor at Quest Ministries…Director of Quest Ministries…  On and on it goes.  And they’re seldom if ever up front about their connections to the ex-gay movement.  But that’s not the basic dishonesty here.  The basic dishonesty is when they say that change is possible they’re not really addressing that to a gay audience, but to a straight one.

As Ex-Gay watch is now documenting, the movement is starting to focus its efforts on heterosexuals.  Counter-intuitive?  Not when you realize that they were actually the target audience all along. The point was never to offer change to homosexuals, but to give heterosexuals an excuse not to care what happens to their homosexual neighbors.  They can always change if they want too…Their blood is upon them…

After decades of trying, and failing to produce any objectively measurable change in sexual orientation, the people actually running these ministries, and dealing with the human wreckage they’re piling up firsthand, cannot possibly Not Know that they’re selling people snake oil.  They keep right on selling it, but as the ex-gay movement finds itself under heightened scrutiny now after the Love In Action protests last year, they’re getting fewer takers.  John Smid, who has had to sell two of the houses where he kept his adult residential clients, is now turning his focus onto exploiting the fears and loathings of parents toward their gay teens, who cannot legally refuse to be put into Refuge.  Easy pickings for the moment, that might let him at least keep his hollow church.  But even that market has no real growth potential and they know it.  What’s left?  The base, of course.  As the ex-gay myth comes crashing down around them, there is still the base.  The base will always be there to listen, and believe.

Exodus and PFOX are now focusing attention on heterosexual youth, creating youth groups with the specific intent of disrupting gay-straight alliances in schools.  It may seem a shift in focus, but it’s more a lifting of the mask.  The Ex-gay movement was never about creating ex-gays.  It was always about giving bigots an excuse to hate, and to act on that hate.  Next comes the name change, to probably something like, Parents of Bullies Alliance in Support of Hate.  PBASH.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on 3 Out Of 4 Doctors Recommend Our Product. Coincidentally, 3 out of 4 Doctors Work For Us.

May 24th, 2006

Come To Memphis And Show Your Love In Action

It was about a year ago that I first read these words…

I pray this blows over. I can’t take this… noone can… not really, this kind of thing tears you apart emotionally…It’s so horrible. This is what it’s doing to me… I have this horrible feeling all of the time… I wish this on no person…

A 16 year old gay teenager had been outed to his parents.  It happens probably every day in this country, and all too often with brutal results for the kid.  Parents, who should love their children unconditionally, are taught by this nation’s men of god to hate them instead if they are homosexual, the better to make gay teens hate themselves, and thereby produce self destructive, self hating adults: convenient scapegoats for all the problems heterosexuals would rather not deal with in themselves.

Zach’s misfortune was not only to have parents who could not see the child for the homosexual, but also to be living just a few miles from the first ever ex-gay program, Love In Action, which had relocated from its San Fransisco birthplace to the friendlier climes of the bible belt, and its current leader John Smid had only recently decided to create a program, ostensibly for teens, but actually for frantic fundamentalist parents who were easy pickings for his ex-gay snake oil.  Smid was able to talk Zach’s parents into his little two-week teaser program, which of course led to the full eight week course. 

It’s a brutal, sexually abusive program where a teen’s deepest feelings about themselves, their bodies, their sexuality, their relationships to their parents, peers and god are systematically ripped out of them using the same mind control techniques that cults throughout the world use to alienate people from the world, the better to imprison them within themselves.  And make no mistake, Love In Action is a cult.  You want proof, read the rule book that Zach found on his parent’s computer, and posted on his blog for the world to see.  A teen who is forced into the "program" finds their life utterly controlled,  who they can talk to, what they can read, what they can wear, even down to the kind of underwear they’re allowed to put on, when they can eat, and even – I am not kidding – how many minutes a day total they can spend in the bathroom.  There are actually timers placed in or near the bathrooms to insure compliance.

It has one purpose and one purpose only: to break a kid’s spirit.  Not to make them a better person.  Not even, really, to make them heterosexual.  As with any cult, the purpose is to erase the soul within, so the cult leaders can put their will in its place.  And in June of 2005, a 16 year old gay teen was thrown into that cult, that ex-gay soul grinder so laughingly misnamed Love In Action.  But before he vanished into it completely, he was able to get a cry for help out to the world.  You can pretty much bet that John’s advice to parents nowadays is Take The Fucking Computer Away Before You Tell The Kid Where They’re Going!!!

When I read Zach’s words, and the LIA rule book, I literally could not sleep for about a week after, so sick with worry was I for him, and for other gay teens who I believed were almost certainly being forced into that "program" too.  I was later to learn that it was not an uncommon reaction.  People from all over the world have since told me the same thing: I couldn’t sleep for days after reading that…  But for Zach’s amazing, loving, devoted friends, worry and stress turned into activism.  They could not stand silently by, they did not stand silently by, while their friend was being abused behind closed doors.  They took to the street, and stood side by side in front of the door to a gay teen’s nightmare, and with their simple presence sent a message of support of their friend, and all the other teens inside, and they took to the Internet, to shout out to the world what was being done to helpless kids in Memphis, and to spread the word about LIA and programs like it, so other teens wouldn’t have to suffer the same silent abuse.

Now, on the one year anniversary of that moment, the Queer Action Coalition is calling for a protest at LIA’s hollow church in Memphis.  And the need is as urgent as ever, because even having suffered setbacks and losses, John Smid is as determined as ever to expand his "program" directed at gay teens.  Child abusers are like that…they never stop with just one:

As the one year anniversary of last summer’s protests nears, an un-publicized/somewhat hidden document on Love In Action’s REFUGE website outlines a new plan to expand their targetting of youth.

From LIA’s document: REFUGE International BOOK/Summer 2006:

Although we have seen success in our ministry, we see the culture relentlessly fighting back. So, we are expanding our ammunition to battle for young people and their families. Our experienced counselors and staff will offer a whole new array of options starting during the summer of 2006:

• Residential recovery for young adults (ages 18-25)
• College campus outreach
• Revamped summer program for youth (ages 13-17)
• Seminars to equip church and community youth leaders
• Conferences to heal wounds within families
• Creative support for parents and families

It appears, in this 8 page document, that LIA will launch a 3-month pilot program this summer for youth ages 13-17, and have begun to request funds for its operation. They have also launched a MYSPACE.COM blog in an attempt to further target youth by adopting main-stream/pop-cultural avenues of communication/outreach….these tactics seem to be the stepping stones towards a much larger front in an attack on youth, and their vunerable parents…

The Queer Action Coalition is rather concerned about these actions on LIA’s behalf, simply because WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE WELL BEING OF OUR FELLOW CITIZENS.

The Lords Of The Ex-Gay Cults claim they act in love.  During the first week of protests in Memphis last year, witnesses saw for themselves what had been largely hidden from the world up until that moment: their love, in action:

Whilst in this centre he [Zach] had to spend the first three days in total silence unable to talk while he was talked to by their counsellors. An eye witness has reported "When we drove around to the front…we saw these men and trailing behind them–four young guys, all with their heads hung, staring at the ground as they walked. They are not allowed to make eyecontact with ANYONE for the first few days.so they are forced to fucking…i’m crying now…but…they have to look at the ground as they walk, for three days it’s a walk of shame, their heads hanging for being themselves, for having the courage to stand up and say "this is who i am"…and now all these people are saying ‘no you aren’t and we will change it. and you will be punished for thinking such things.’ I will NEVER get that picture out of my head. those four guys…" 

You may have a different definition of love then beating shame into an innocent kid because you hate what they are.  If so, then come to Memphis on June 5, and show your love in action.

 

by Bruce | Link | React! (3)

May 22nd, 2006

One From The Heart

I see John Smid finally covered up that bare sign in front of his hollow church…

 

This is perfect.  Almost too good.  If you can’t quite make it out, that’s the god-forsaken Love In Action logo under the LOVE IN ACTION verbiage.  It’s a pink triangle with a heart superimposed on it.  Here it is:

 

Now I’ve no idea what exactly was on Smid’s mind when he settled on this as his logo, I suspect he thinks he’s somehow slyly co-opting the pink triangle symbol, but whatever was in his foreground thoughts, this is the gutter of his subconscious speaking and it’s almost better then the vacant whitewash that was on the sign previously.

The pink triangle is not a symbol of gay liberation. That would be the Lambda if you’re my generation, or nowadays, the rainbow flag.  When gay people display the pink triangle, we do it as an act of defiance against the hate that sent thousands of homosexuals to the death camps, or we do it as a remembrance of those who died, and those who survived.  We are emphatically not embracing the status the Nazis imposed on homosexuals, that of a dangerous sub human perversion that it was better to exterminate for the good of society.

Recall that the triangle symbols the Nazis used in the concentration camps to identify classes of inmates, were derived from the shape of traffic hazard signs widely in use throughout Germany at the time.  The colored triangles were put onto human beings to identify them, literally, as though they were some kind of hazardous biological waste.  That is the meaning of the pink triangle.  John Smid’s drawing a little heart over it is akin to putting a smiley face on a swastika.

Well…I couldn’t have said it better myself.  The bedrock premise of homosexual conversion therapy is that homosexuals should not exist.  Couched under layer after layer of "love the sinner, hate the sin" bullshit, the bottom line for them is that this world would be a much better place if there were no homosexuals.  And here comes John Smid, to make it all plain as day that what they want to do to us, they mean in love.  Honest…we don’t hate you…we love you…  And to prove it, he’s taken the death camp symbol for homosexuality and put a fuzzy little heart over it.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on One From The Heart

May 21st, 2006

In Memphis For A Couple Of Days…

I’m in Memphis now, on the first leg of a brief road trip vacation, not so much mandated as encouraged by my employer (I had gobs of unused and accrued vacation time and due to budgetary considerations they’d really rather we didn’t do that anymore…). 

Anyway…would anyone I saw during my last visit like to do lunch or dinner or something while I’m here.  I’d really like to sit down and chat with that bunch of Memphis area bloggers I met the last time.  Great bunch of folks.

After Memphis, Topeka, and then probably back home to Baltimore to spend the last half of this vacation in my art room catching up on a few things.  In the meantime, while I’m on the road, the cartoon is on hiatus.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on In Memphis For A Couple Of Days…

May 20th, 2006

Depraved Indifference

The important thing isn’t whether it’s a boy or a girl you have in your arms, but whether or not you care that they’re better for having been loved by you, and not worse. 

Mike Arthart at Ex-Gay Watch has a pointed post up about two groups who you have to figure would rather see people die then encourage them to enjoy sex responsibly:

Exodus board member Phil Burress wants drugstore condoms locked away to discourage their purchase.

Focus on the Family disapproves of condoms as a fallback when abstinence fails.

Exgay activist Stephen Bennett opposes both condoms and potential prophylactic drugs to prevent HIV infection.

Antigay activist Peter LaBarbera and the antigay Constitution Party of Illinois dictate that clinics that make condoms available should be forcibly closed — and their workers jailed.

The American Family Association’s AgapePress and the AFA’s Michigan affiliate oppose fund-raising for medical treatments and potential cures for HIV/AIDS.

All these folks have something in common with a New York sex party that, according to The Washington Blade, is scheduled for this weekend:

They oppose making sex safer and they oppose disease prevention.

This, if true, is appalling

The invitation arrived in Tokes Osubu’s e-mail inbox on Monday, and the contents astounded him: Black and Latino men were being invited to attend a gay sex party this weekend where condoms would be banned. Show up with a condom, the invitation said, and you’ll be asked to leave.

"I was shocked and disgusted," said Osubu, executive director of Gay Men of African Descent, a Harlem-based nonprofit group battling the HIV/AIDS epidemic among black gay men.

Osubu sent the party’s promoter a letter urging him to reconsider the policy, and the group plans to protest Saturday outside the East Harlem building where the party is scheduled to be held.

The party comes just weeks before the 25th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic and at a time when black men are facing startlingly high HIV infection rates. Nearly half of black men who have sex with men are HIV-positive, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates.

"I’m sick of 18-year-olds coming in here HIV-positive," Osubu, 46, said in his East Harlem office. "It’s got to stop."

As I get older I find myself growing more and more accepting of things then I was when I was young and a tad full of myself.  I can accept now that for some people, sex is more like a hobby then a passionate joining of two people, body and soul.  I’m not interested in having sex with any of them, but they’d probably find me a tad uninteresting anyway.  And I really don’t care if some people get into these sex club scenes or how many people they have sex with or how often, as long as there is a measure of compassion and kindness given.  Whatever it is you do, you can’t take advantage of or abuse anyone, and you can’t spread disease.  You have to leave them better for their encounter with you, even if it’s merely a few moments of casual pleasure, not worse.  It doesn’t have to be love…but if you don’t love, you still need to care.  And if you don’t care, you’ve no business taking anyone into your arms.

Or…inviting them into your church.

I want to say one more thing to any younger folks who are reading my blog:  If the person you are with doesn’t care enough about you to keep you safe from disease, (let alone pregnancy if you’re heterosexual) they do not care about you enough for you to be giving yourself to them.  In any sense.  Take a walk.  Go find the heart that loves you.  It’s out there waiting for you.  Don’t let anyone, be it a bible thumping nutcase who thinks you don’t deserve honest, factual information about STD prevention, or a really really cute someone who swears they think the world of you, they just think taking precautions is silly, take the possibility of that perfect body and soul love away from you.  Nobody who really loves you would ever want to do that to you. That isn’t love…it’s greed.  Your body, and your love, are precious things.  Give them to the ones who deserve you, the ones who want more then anything for you to be happy, and safe, as the person you are.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Depraved Indifference


Lords Of The New Church…(continued)

The second part of Jim Naughton’s series about the influence of right wing billionaires in mainstream American protestant churches, Following The Money is online now, here.

The Dromantine Retreat and Conference Center , a 19th Italianate mansion sits in stony isolation on a hilltop outside Newry , Northern Ireland . The center is home to a Catholic seminary, but it played host to a distinctively Protestant drama in February 2005. For five days, the Primates of the Anglican Communion assembled in its meagerly-furnished meeting rooms to determine whether the 77-million member body could be preserved despite bitter disagreements over homosexuality.

For the previous 15 months, the leaders of several conservative Episcopal organizations had been working secretly with their allies among the primates to remove the Episcopal Church from the Communion for consecrating a gay man with a male partner as bishop and permitting the blessing of same-sex relationships. Failing that, they aimed to establish a parallel American province for Episcopalians who differed with their Church on the nature of same-sex relationships.

At the Dromantine conference, the Americans and their international allies collaborated with an unprecedented openness, in an attempt to force Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to take a harder line against the Episcopal Church.

Among the primates who backed this effort were Peter Akinola of Nigeria , Henry Orombi of Uganda and Gregory Venables of Argentina . Working with them were the leaders of the American Anglican Council, the Anglican Communion Network, the Ekklesia Society and the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

Those groups, backed by five politically conservative U.S. foundations, and Howard F. Ahmanson, a benefactor of numerous conservative ballot initiatives, candidates and think tanks, had been cultivating relationships with evangelical leaders in the developing world since the mid-1990s. But at Dromantine, the Americans’ role as the principal strategists for the movement against their church came into focus.

The impending schism in the Anglican church is by no means a grass roots movement powered by disagreements over scripture.  It is fueled and funded by a handful of American right wing billionaires who are also the source of most of the money funding the American culture wars for the past two decades.  The Washington Blade this week, has a short article on how one of their front groups, the Institute on Religion & Democracy, has been stepping up its attacks on the gay community since the end of the cold war:

“There is a growing awareness that IRD and groups affiliated with them have been having an increasingly disruptive effect on our churches,” John H. Thomas, president of the United Church of Christ, told the Blade. “In some cases, groups that have affinity with IRD provide instruction to churches seeking to leave the United Council of Churches.”

IRD’s critics point to the group’s leadership and funding sources as proof it intends to use gay issues to divide congregations.

Follow the money

IRD’s financial backers include conservative foundations like the Scaife Family Foundation; the Carthage Foundation; the Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation; and the Randolph Foundation, according to Media Transparency, a research group that investigates conservative groups.

Howard F. Ahmanson Jr. has also contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to IRD, according to a report by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington authored by Jim Naughton, communications director for the diocese. Ahmanson has also contributed hundreds of thousands to groups opposing gay marriage and pushing anti-affirmative action ballot initiatives, according to the report.

By way of dozens and dozens of front groups and propaganda mills, this small circle of right wing billionaires have utterly poisoned American politics.  The extent of their political influence has only come to light through the persistent work of a few small progressive watchdog groups.  The extent of their reach into the religious lives of Americans is still being documented.  For all the damage they’ve done to the political dialog in America, the damage they’ve done to the spiritual lives of the American people may, in the end, be far more profound.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Lords Of The New Church…(continued)

May 18th, 2006

Yes…But Can This Marriage Be Saved…?

In a way, it’s comforting to know that a same sex lover’s quarrel can be treated in print like any other public display of mutual love-gone-bad acrimony.  But…its bad enough there are so many desperately lonely people in this world…these two really need to stop visiting the same bar at the same time.  It’s just…too depressing…

Volusia County Council member Bill Long said all he did was give his former partner, DeBary City Council member Patrick Fulton, a "friendly nudge."

Fulton said Long was drunk when he drove his elbow into Fulton’s back at a bar in DeBary.

But what started out like the latest public spat between the two ex-lovers resulted Tuesday in a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence against Long — and a possible charge of aggravated stalking that, if filed, could result in the two-term County Council member being suspended from office.

"He’s just out of control, and I’m not going to be a punching bag," said Fulton, 36.

Long, a former deputy sheriff, was arrested at 2:20 p.m. at the Halifax Medical Center, where he was said to be visiting a friend, and taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail. Because he was charged with domestic violence, he was held without bail until he appears before a judge at 1:30 p.m. today.

It was the latest wrenching turn in the former couple’s angry — and highly public — breakup after a nearly 14-year relationship ended in 2004. And Fulton said it was Long’s anger that prompted not only the elbow at the bar but later a smashed window and damaged door at the house they co-own but where only Fulton lives.

Long, a 43-year-old DeBary funeral-home owner seeking re-election as the representative for southwest Volusia, said Fulton’s allegations were an attempt at "political assassination." Asked if he was drunk at the Cheers Sports Bar and Package when he made contact with Fulton, Long said: "I don’t recall that at all."

They say booze’ll do that.  Can you at least recall the hangover?  Look…it’s over…if you can’t love him you need to keep your hands off him.

And…sober up.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Yes…But Can This Marriage Be Saved…?


The Zeroth Commandment…(continued)

Via Pam’s House Blend…the implosion at Patrick (you know…that guy who said, "give me liberty or give me death"…) Henry College continues

Nearly a third of the faculty members at a small evangelical Christian college in Virginia are reportedly leaving the school following disputes with its president over theology and academic freedom.

Christianity Today reports that five full-time faculty members have announced they will not be returning to Patrick Henry College in Purcellville next year. Nine professors have left in the past year, as well as four senior executives in the past 18 months. The departing professors accuse outgoing PHC president Michael Farris of squelching academic freedom on campus and disparaging Calvinist theology. 

According to the school’s statement of doctrinal neutrality, Patrick Henry College "welcomes all people who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ" and "does not take sides on certain doctrinal matters that often separate … believers." The statement reads: "The College itself is neutral on the doctrinal distinctives which go beyond the points covered in our Statement of Faith and are outside the mission of the College."

This is really starting to remind me of H.L. Mencken’s saying how theology is an attempt to explain the unknowable, in the terms of the not worth knowing.  But then again it’s not the theology that’s the issue here.  This is a fight between two irreconcilable views of what constitutes knowledge.  Not truth…knowledge. 

Think of it as the difference between sitting like a couch potato in front of your TV set, passively receiving information, verses looking through a pile of books in your local library for the answer to some question you have.  The TV tells us everything it thinks we need to know.  We don’t get to ask it questions, we just trust and receive.  It takes a little sweat sometimes to find what you’re looking for at a library.  You have to work for it.  The answers don’t just jump off the shelves into your lap.  And sometimes the books contradict one another, and you have to judge between them.  On the one hand you have those who believe that knowledge is something that is revealed to us.  On the other, those who believe knowledge is something that is searched for and discovered.  Knowledge as something that is given to us, and which we should regard as a gift, verses knowledge as something we have worked to uncover, and must treat with care, because we are fallible.  We do not have the perfect God’s eye view.

Once upon a time, Baptists generally found the latter view more agreeable.  The Truth is out there…but we all have to find our way to it ourselves, and take a measure of humility with us along the way. 

Well…not anymore…

Farris, a Baptist minister, has publicly expressed views that have shocked some professors and students. "He said St. Augustine was in hell," said Root. "I heard it with my own ears." Other professors and students said Farris has repeatedly disparaged Calvinist theology.

"There is a sense that you face antagonism as someone who is theologically Reformed," said Bates, who sparred with Farris over a speech he was planning to deliver at the college’s annual Faith and Reason Lecture, and again over the use of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology textbook. According to Bates, Farris considered it "too Reformed."

"We are put in a hard position," said Bates. "We’re told this is an open dialogue, but if you engage in open dialogue, you’re in trouble. It’s infuriating because you’re an academic and want to engage in ideas."

Bates said that at a meeting with Farris, "He told me that a person of the Reformed position to which I hold cannot in good conscience sign the statement of faith. When I responded that I failed to see the discrepancy between the two, he replied, ‘I define the statement of faith.’"

I define the statement of faith…  Okay.  Well I guess we know who the source of all knowledge and truth Really is now…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Zeroth Commandment…(continued)

May 17th, 2006

The Family Police

Want to see what America will look like when our domestic Taliban take complete control?  You can see it now in a quiet little suburb of St. Louis, Missouri

BLACK JACK, Mo. – The city council has rejected a measure allowing unmarried couples with multiple children to live together, and the mayor said those who fall into that category could soon face eviction.

Olivia Shelltrack and Fondrey Loving were denied an occupancy permit after moving into a home in this St. Louis suburb because they have three children and are not married.

The town’s planning and zoning commission proposed a change in the law, but the measure was rejected Tuesday by the city council in a 5-3 vote.

"I’m just shocked," Shelltrack said. "I really thought this would all be over, and we could go on with our lives."

No lady, you can’t.  Not until you bring your family into line with the local definition of what a family is

Olivia Shelltrack finally has her dream home. Her family moved into the five-bedroom, three-bath frame house in Black Jack last month. But now she fears she and her fiance face uprooting their children because of a city ordinance that says her household fails to meet Black Jack’s definition of a family.

Shelltrack and Fondray Loving, her boyfriend of 13 years, were denied an occupancy permit because of an ordinance forbidding three or more individuals from living together if they are not related by "blood, marriage or adoption." The couple have three children, ages 8, 10 and 15, although Loving is not the biological father of the oldest child.

The couple appealed the denial of an occupancy permit last week at a hearing before Black Jack’s board of adjustment. Shelltrack said board members asked her and Loving personal questions about their relationship, their children and their previous home in Minneapolis, from where they moved, for nearly an hour. Then the board denied the couple’s appeal. The case now goes before Black Jack’s municipal court.

At the hearing, Shelltrack said, one board of adjustment member, Norma Mitchell, even pointed at her and asked, "I don’t understand why you as a woman didn’t exercise your right to marry that man," before being hushed by another board member.

Mitchell refused to comment. She referred all calls to Black Jack Mayor Norman McCourt, who defended the ordinance.

"This is about the definition of family, not if they’re married or not," he said. "It’s what cities do to maintain the housing and to hold down overcrowding."

"This is about the definition of family, not if they’re married or not…"  Gotta love it.  From the book of Doubletalk, chapter 4 verse 12: Thou shalt be married, in order to be a family…however whether or not you are married has nothing to do with it…  We thought you were speaking in tongues there for a while brother McCourt, but it turns out you were just talking out of both sides of your mouth.

This is what the religious right wants to turn America into…a place where they can dictate not only who is and is not a family, but where we can and cannot live, and what property we can and cannot hold, based on how well our lives conform to their religious dictates.  If you think it’s only same sex couples, only same sex households, that are at risk of being literally thrown off their own property for religious crimes in the United States, think again.  You’re on their plate too, your children, your home, your life, it all belongs to them as far as they are concerned.  And you can bet your ass that there are people in that town who are nodding their heads approvingly right now, right this instant, and thinking that if the fornicators are arrested, the city can give their kids away to a decent, properly married couple…

Shelltrack, 31, could appeal Black Jack’s decision to the St. Louis County Circuit Court, but she said that would involve legal fees that she and Loving can’t afford because of the money they poured into buying their home.

She said, however, the couple has filed a complaint with the U.S. Housing and Urban Department.

That would be the Bush Housing and Urban Department.  Try not to laugh too hard.  And if that irony wasn’t enough, from the photos I’m seeing of the couple, it appears that Shelltrack is white and her boyfriend, Fondrey Loving, is black.  Loving verses Missouri anyone?  And you thought times had changed…

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)


If I Didn’t Love You I Wouldn’t Be Praying For God To Strike You Down

Some moments in your life, you just don’t know whether to put your face in your hands and cry, or put your fist through a wall. 

So I’m following the links Mike Airhart  put up on Ex-Gay Watch to a discussion about whether or not the term "ex-gay" is offensive (to other ex-gays apparently…) and I find myself scanning the posts on various blogs of gay people who just want to not be homosexual anymore if they only could, and it’s making me sad and then it starts making me angry, nail spitting angry once again, at the Dobsons, the Falwells, the Bauers, the Wildmons, all the pusillanimous bigots of this world who just can’t feel fulfilled in their own lives unless they’re sticking a knife in some homosexual’s heart and twisting it once in the name of Jesus Christ and once more in the name of love…  And I’m following the discussions and the links on their blogs to various other blogs, those of other ex-gays and also those of out and proud ex-ex-gays, and I run across this post at Disputed Mutability:

In my last post I shared how I recently learned that several years ago my mother prayed for God to "take me" (i.e., kill me) if being gay was a sin. Many parents ask for similar or less drastic ills to befall their gay children. Sometimes they actively pray for misery that will drive the child in question back to the Lord and the straight and narrow.

HuH?  So I follow the link…

Christine over at Rising Up Whole recently wrote about parents who hope or pray that their gay children’s lives are made difficult or cut short. The opening paragraph:

I just had a conversation with a friend who found out her mother had prayed that if being gay was a sin, that the Lord would take this daughter before she had drifted too far from God (yes, as in "take this daughter" out).

Yeah, so that’s yours truly. My mom dropped that bomb on me Saturday, telling me she prayed that prayer about nine years ago. I guess she thought it would be okay for me to hear about it now, because I’m evangelical and exgay and happily married and all that. Apparently she thought I would approve. But I must admit I still find it very, very disturbing.

I can’t imagine why.  Just one of those little rites of growing up I reckon.  You know…the day your parents tell you that they’ve been praying all along that God would kill you…

So I follow the link to Rising Up Whole… 

GCB at This Gay Christian’s Blog writes about his Beau and the phone call he recently received from his parents:

And among it all comes the proclamation that, among the church gossip and woe-is-me’s about their so-called wayward son, his mother is praying that the Beau and I would have unsettled lives.

This is in line, though more blunt, with my own mother’s proclamation that “God will never bless me.”

A commenter on the above entry related the following:

I know the feeling. My mother sent me a letter saying that she used to (before I came out) pray that I’d find the right woman to marry, but after I came out, she prayed that I would never fall in love (with another man)…So, I remember well the ‘punched in the guts’ feeling of knowing your mother is/was praying against you.

Well I’m sure as shit glad I don’t know that feeling.  I had it rough in some sense growing up in the biological middle of two families who didn’t much like each other, and in particular the constant crap I got from people on my mother’s side for just being my father’s son.  But I never doubted that my parents, both of them, loved me, and especially mom, the most gentle kind-hearted sunshine and light kinda person you ever met, until one of her relatives started bad mouthing me when they thought they were doing it behind her back and then you never saw her get so angry.  Had she ever told me that she was praying for my life to be miserable I think that would have been the thing to make me just go stand in front of a train.

So I follow the link to This Gay Christian’s Blog… 

Unconditionally

Good Friday. Work let out early, I got to get out of Dodge and come home while it was still light outside. Wonderful! So as I recline on the couch, soaking in some old Will and Grace episodes on DVD – a birthday present from The Beau – he goes off to answer a phone call from his mom. Usually innocuous except for the occasional sigh and hell-bound innuendo, we figured it would just be another dull parental chat.

Until about a half hour later I start to hear the just-this-side of yelling voice coming from the bedroom. Alarmed, I rush in to lend my boyfriend moral support for the rest of the fundamentalist bashing he was going through. And as I stood there, arms around him listening in, I hear the weepy voice of his mother claiming how much Beau hates them (he doesn’t), has said they abused him (he never said that), and refuses to call (who needs to when they call every third day?). And among it all comes the proclomation that, among the church gossip and woe-is-me’s about their so-called wayward son, his mother is praying that the Beau and I would have unsettled lives.

Wait – replay that back a bit – you read it right. Beau’s mother, is praying, against her own son.

This is in line, though more blunt, with my own mother’s proclomation that “God will never bless me.”

And it’s this sort of thing that makes me appreciate the mission of Soulforce all that much more. You can argue for or against the gay Christian activist group, but the fact is they are fighting against spiritual abuse that is laid on our people by our own mothers.

Interestingly, what hurts Beau the most is not the words themselves. Remarkably, he ignores the words themselves and can absorb the sting of their cruelty. None of the surface level attacks stuck to my beloved. No, what set him to tears in my arms that day was the fear his parents would never understand what it means to love unconditionally.

…and I’m reading this and for a second I think I’m going to start crying, and then I think I just want to get up and put my fist through a wall.  Well…I didn’t take it out on my poor walls. 

What the Fuck are these people doing to their children!?  There are adults out there would would gladly raise those kids with all the love they’d ever want in their lives.  My own mother had tons of love to spare for every other kid she ever met and every single one of my friends felt it and told me so.  Children are precious.  If you don’t feel that, even if like me you don’t have kids of your own, there’s something wrong with you.  To wound one like that is a crime against all humanity.  You’ve not only taken wholehearted love away from the kid, you’ve taken it away from everyone in their lives that they could have loved wholeheartedly.  What the Fuck is wrong with some people.

My children had to die to be saved.  They were not righteous.
-Andria Yates.

Yates merely drowned her children.  So did Susan Smith, watching from the shore as they sank, terrified, strapped in their car seats, beneath the water.  At least their pain ended.  What do you say to someone who throws their kid into a pit of abandonment to drown in for the rest of their lives?  What words could possibly be enough?  Lady I don’t give a flying fuck what some babbling mental case with a bible told you about your kid…is there a fucking heart beating inside that miserable body of yours?  Does it work?  Did it ever?  There are no words for it. 

The real monsters here, of course, are the ones who encouraged these parents to withdraw their love from their children.  James Dobson.  Stephen Bennett.  James Hartline.  Jerry Falwell.  Donald Wildmon.  et. al.   In the name of Jesus Christ, in the name of Love, they’ve made this world a smaller, lonelier, meaner place. So many people in this world, so many gay people, walking the streets of their hometowns, coping as best they can with a part of themselves inside that should have been filled with love, empty.  Its unforgivable.  Sometimes you just want to cry.  Sometimes you just want to hit something.  Hard.

You want to know what this does to people?  Wandering around the blog links in this discussion of parents praying for their children’s misery or death, I finally found my way to the full text of Jack McIntyre’s suicide note.  McIntyre was the friend of Love In Action co-founder John Evans back in the early 1970s.  Wayne Besen documents the founding of Love In Action in his book, Anything But Straight, and writes of McIntyre:

Even’s best friend, Jack McIntyre, was also part of the ministry.  He along with the rest of the participants, struggled mightily with temptations and did everything in his power to change his sexual orientation. As with nearly everyone else in the original ex-gay cast of characters, however, he could not change and remained as gay as the day he walked through the door.  For McIntyre, the ministry led to feelings of inadiquacy and intensified his belief that he had failed God.

To save himself from his homosexuality, and keep himself from sinning in the eyes of God, McIntyre killed himself.  I’d never seen the full text of his suicide note before, and there it was, staring me in the face like a sign at the end of a dead end street.

TO: Those left with the question, why did he do it?

I loved life and all that it had to offer to me each day.

I loved my job and my clients.

I loved my friends and thank God for each one of them.

I loved my little house and would not have wanted to live anywhere else.

All this looks like the perfect life. Yet, I must not let this shadow the problem that I have in my life. At one time, not to long ago, that was all that really mattered in my life. What pleased me and how it affected me. Now that I have turned my life over to the Lord and the changes came one by one, the above statements mean much more to me. I am pleased that I can say those statements with all the truth and honesty that is within me.

However, to make this short, I must confess that there were things in my life that I could not gain control, no matter how much I prayed and tried to avoid the temptation, I continually failed.

It is this constant failure that has made me make the decision to terminate my life here on earth. I do this with the complete understanding that life is not mine to take. I know that it is against the teachings of our Creator. No man is without sin, this I realise. I will cleanse myself of all sin as taught to me by His word. Yet, I must face my Lord with the sin of murder. I believe that Jesus died and paid the price for that sin too. I know that I shall have everlasting life with Him by departing this world now, no matter how much I love it, my friends, my family. If I remain it could possibly allow the devil the opportunity to lead me away from the Lord. I love life, but my love for the Lord is so much greater, the choice is simple.

I am not asking you to sanction my actions. That is not the purpose of my writing this at all. It is for the express purpose of allowing each one who will read this to know how I weighed things in my own mind. I don’t want you to think that, ‘I alone,’ should have been the perfect person, without sin. That would be ridiculous! It is the continuing lack of strength and/or obedience and/or will power to cast aside certain sins. To continually go before God and ask forgiveness and make promises you know you can’t keep is more than I can take. I feel it is making a mockery of God and all He stands for in my life.

Please know that I am extremely happy to be going to the Lord. He knows my heart and knows how much I love life and and all that it has to offer. But, He knows that I love Him more. That is why I believe that I will be with Him in Paradise.

I regret if I bring sorrow to those that are left behind. If you get your hearts in tune with the word of God you will be as happy about my ‘transfer’ as I am. I also hope that this answers sufficiently the question, why?

May God Have Mercy On My Soul.

A Brother & A Friend.

Love your children.  Just.  Fucking.  Love your children!  If you can’t love your children, don’t ask for forgiveness.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

May 16th, 2006

The Zeroth Commandment

The preacher stopped at least, and there arose out the darkness a woman with her hair pulled back into a little tight knot. She began so quickly we couldn’t hear what she said, but soon her voice rose resonantly and we could follow her. She was denouncing the reading of books. Some wandering book agent, it appeared, had come to her cabin and tried to sell her a specimen of his wares. She refused to touch it. Why, indeed, read a book? If what was in it was true, then everything in it was already in the Bible. If it was false, then reading it would imperil the soul. This syllogism from the Caliph Omar complete, she sat down. There followed a hymn, led by a somewhat fat brother wearing silver-rimmed country spectacles. It droned on for half a dozen stanzas, and then the first speaker resumed the floor. He argued that the gift of tongues was real and that education was a snare. Once his children could read the Bible, he said, they had enough. Beyond lay only infidelity and damnation.

-H.L. Mencken – The Hills Of Zion 

Fair warning: I’m going to relate some of my own spiritual beliefs here.  Your mileage may vary.  

In May of the year 2006, in the nation that once put men on the moon, three college professors resigned their posts after being taken to task for telling their students that there is more that they need to know about life, then what written is in the bible…

Professors To Leave Patrick Henry

Mar 23, 2006 — A public debate at Patrick Henry College about whether the Bible is the only source of truth preceded the decisions by three professors and an instructor last week to tell school administration they would not return for another year.

Assistant Professor of Classics David C. Noe, Assistant Professor of History and Literature J. Kevin Culberson, Chairman of the Department of Government Robert Stacey and Instructor of Government Erik S. Root, all submitted letters indicating they would not return after the current school year, according to sources from the Purcellville college. Patrick Henry founder and President Michael Farris said the departures followed an “exchange of ideas” and a critique of an article Culberson and Noe wrote in the student newspaper The Source.

“Shortly after the responding article was published these people indicated they weren’t going to come back next year,” Farris said.

The article in question, titled “The Role of General Revelation in Education,” argues that sources outside of the Bible are needed for Christians to lead happy and productive lives.

“Christians may be inclined to accept this proposition when it comes to things like carpentry and the law,” the article states. “After all the Bible does not tell us how to fix a door jam or file a brief in appellate court. They are less inclined or sometimes refuse to accept this when it comes to matters of ethics and the nature of the soul. But while it is true that the Bible contains all we need to know for reconciliation with God, it does not include all the information we need to live happy and productive lives.”

Patrick Henry College’s Statement of Christian Philosophy states “God is the source of all truth, be it spiritual, moral, philosophical, or scientific. … Christian faith and genuine learning cannot be separated; neither is our Christian faith a mere addendum to the liberal learning process. Instead, our Christian faith precedes and informs all that we at Patrick Henry College study, teach and learn.”

In response to the article in The Source, Raymond Bouchoc, the college’s chaplain, sent a campus-wide e-mail that dissects Culberson and Noe’s article point-by-point. Bouchoc’s response stated that it was endorsed by Farris. The lengthy response cites numerous “harmful implications” of Culberson’s and Noe’s column.

One of those “harmful implications” rebuts Culberson and Noe’s position that the Bible does not include all information needed for happy, productive lives.

“God, by means of His common grace, has provided mankind with the ability to understand and harness the operations of creation for his own benefit and prosperity,” Bouchoc’s response states. “While it is true that the particulars of ‘all things’ are not spelled out explicitly in Scripture, it is, nevertheless, sufficient in that it provides the universal guiding principles for all of life, leaving nothing within creation that is not addressed.”

The bible tells us everything we need to know…  But is that really seeking God?  

The school’s mission statement doesn’t mince words. It states: “God is the source of all truth, be it spiritual, moral, philosophical, or scientific. … Christian faith and genuine learning cannot be separated; neither is our Christian faith a mere addendum to the liberal learning process. Instead, our Christian faith precedes and informs all that we at Patrick Henry College study, teach and learn.” 

God is the source of all truth…  Okay…fine.  If God is that which created all that is, all that was, and all that will ever be, then God must be the source of everything we will ever know.  But confining your understanding of God to the pages of the bible is worse then Newton’s image of himself: as a boy playing on the beach, now and then finding a prettier shell or pebble then usual, while the great ocean of truth lay undiscovered all around him.  It is listening to someone else who claims they were at the beach, telling you all about it, and then telling you that what they just said is all you need to know about it.

Take a stroll down any favorite beach one day.  Reach down into the sand and scoop up a few grains.  If God is that which created all that is, all that was, and all that will ever be, then there in your hand is the Testament of God.  Right there.  Blake said it best at the beginning of his Auguries of Innocence

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
 

Little grains of sand glinting the palm of your hand.  The sunlight that makes them sparkle.  It is the handwriting of God.  Anyone can write a bible.  Anyone can sit at their word processor, crank out several hundred pages of holy writ in a few breathless hours of drunken inspiration, pound the pavement waving and screaming it in the face of every passing stranger they meet, and Get Followers.  You know it’s true.  L. Ron Hubbard proved it in our lifetimes.  But only God can make a grain of sand out of nothing.  When the bird and the bird book disagree, believe the bird.

I can appreciate the insecurities and the fear that animate the fundamentalist.  Better to read about God second hand, and from a congenial source, then stand at the edge of everything you know, everything you’ve ever hoped, all your fears, all your dreams, all your deep secret conceits, look God in the face and ask it a question.  Because you might get an answer.  Why no pope Urban…actually the earth isn’t the center of the universe…and neither are you…  It can take your breath away with its beauty.  It can scare the steaming shit out of you.  But it is not those of us who are willing to let nature speak for itself that are elevating men over God.

“I’ve been told there are things I cannot teach,” Root said. “There are things I cannot ask.” At most any liberal arts college, political science students study Thomas Hobbes and his State of Nature, in which the lack of government causes chaos and an ugly, every-man-for-himself state.

To illustrate this point, Root gave his class a fictional example of the State of Nature, in which two people were stranded on a lifeboat that would only be able to save the life of one person. What would ensue? In Hobbes’ State of Nature, the result would likely not be pretty. This example, Stacey said, was perceived as an example of postmodern deconstruction and used to break down morality. So Root’s lifeboat example was gone.

But there were other instances that rubbed Noe, Root and Stacey the wrong way. A work of literature, which chronicles the birth of Hinduism, was banned. A text, used to teach the Theology Sequence, which had been chosen by various instructors, was pulled from the shelves unless another, balancing view was added to the curriculum.

“We don’t know from day to day, what is going to be accepted or what is not going to be accepted,” Root said. “It’s a moving target.”

That “moving target” has had an impact on discussion, the professors say.

“Students are afraid to raise questions or criticize the school,” Noe said.

The Zeroth Commandment:  Thou shalt not ask questions.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Zeroth Commandment


At 3 Dollars A Gallon, A Little Less Roguish…

I was wondering why we were chumming up to Libya all of a sudden

WASHINGTON — American oil companies stand to gain in competing for access to oil reserves in Libya by the restoration of normal diplomatic relations and the removal of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime from a U.S. list of terrorism sponsors.

Oh…ya think?  Right…they’ve got some of that black stuff under their territory too, don’t they…

On May 6, 2002 United States Under Secretary of State John R. Bolton (now U.N. Ambassador) gave a speech entitled "Beyond the Axis of Evil." In it he added three more nations to be grouped with the already mentioned "rogue states": Libya, Syria, and Cuba. The criteria for membership in this group were: "state sponsors of terrorism that are pursuing or who have the potential to pursue weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or have the capability to do so in violation of their treaty obligations." The speech was widely reported as an expansion of the original Axis of Evil.

Axis of evil – Wikipedia

From Rogue State to valued trading partner in four years.  If only the cold war had been so short…

Assuming Congress does not disapprove of Libya’s removal from the State Department’s terror list in the 45 days allowed for review, "the oil companies will send whatever they want to send for their operations," Lichtenbaum, an international lawyer with Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, said in an interview.

Another control being lifted, he said, was one imposed by energy legislation enacted last summer. It barred shipment abroad of devices that could be part of a nuclear program that companies like Halliburton normally use to explore for oil.

"That potentially was going to shut down U.S. companies’ ability to explore for oil," he said.

So Halliburton couldn’t get their equipment in, eh?  Good thing Libya’s going to be taken off the terror list.  We wouldn’t want our big defense contractors to be sending devices that could be part of a nuclear program over to terrorist states now would we?  What’s the price of gasoline again…?

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on At 3 Dollars A Gallon, A Little Less Roguish…

May 15th, 2006

Actions Spoken Out Louder Then Words

Stephen Noon, the gay press secretary to British Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor was apparently fired three years ago.  So that makes the story old news…right?

Well…not exactly

The row is embarrassing for the Archbishop because, although Mr Noon was dismissed in 2003, details have emerged only days after Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor wrote in a letter to The Times: "The Church has consistently spoken out against any discrimination against homosexual persons, and will continue to do so." He was writing to counter suggestions that the deeply held Catholic faith of Ruth Kelly might be at odds with her new role as Equality Minister.

[Emphasis Mine…] Ruth Kelly is the Opus Dei operative Tony Blair has, for some godforsaken reason, decided to install in his cabinet as…get this…Equality Minister.  Not bad eh?  Sorta like making Al Capone Minister of Banks.

It’s important to remember the distinction here isn’t that she’s a Catholic, but that she’s Opus Dei.  There is no way on God’s green earth that a member of Opus Dei is going to work for gay and lesbian equality.  The opposition apparently tried to pin her down about the sinfulness of homosexuality last week, but that’s the wrong question to be asking her…

Ruth Kelly, the staunchly Catholic minister for equality, angered gay rights campaigners yesterday when she refused to say whether she regarded homosexuality as sinful.

Miss Kelly, who was given the job of promoting equality and fighting discrimination by Tony Blair in last week’s ministerial reshuffle, ducked the question twice in an interview on the BBC’s Radio Five Live.

Opposition politicians leapt on her evasive answers saying her appointment – she is also a member of the conservative sect Opus Dei which is hostile to homosexuality – raised serious questions about Mr Blair’s commitment to equality.

Asked by presenter Nicky Campbell if she thought homosexuality was a sin Miss Kelly said she was "not going to get into these questions".

When he pushed her a second time she said it was not right for ministers to make "moral judgments".

She insisted she was committed to equality and against discrimination of all kinds but would not be drawn on whether homosexual practices were acceptable.

There are many people of good conscience in this world, who understand that democracies have to treat all their citizens equally, without regard to their religious beliefs, even if what they do, the religions they practice, the lives they live, go against their own personal religious beliefs.  Rest assured, none of these folks belong to Opus Dei

You need to ask someone like Kelly what they think equality and discrimination Mean, as applied to the rights of homosexual people.  And you have to be precise, and you have to keep asking that question repeatedly until you get a precise answer back.  And it won’t be easy because an Opus Dei member will know by heart all the right weasel words to say and make you think that she means one thing, when in reality she means something completely different. It wasn’t that long ago here in America, that some people believed racial equality meant separate but equal, and being against discrimination meant treating all white people equally, and all black people equally, but not treating black people as the equals of white people. 

When Ruth Kelly says she is for equality for homosexuals and against discrimination, without a doubt she does not mean that you treat homosexuals as the equals of heterosexuals, or treat same sex couples as the equal of opposite sex couples.  She means, you treat all homosexuals equally…as God intended homosexuals should be treated, and not give preferences toward some homosexuals over other homosexuals.  But you don’t treat them as the equals of heterosexuals because they aren’t.  So treating them as equals would be silly.   As Rick Santorum once said, it would be like treating marriages the same as man on dog relationships.  Mercy and justice dictate that you treat all homosexuals equally, but not as the equals of heterosexuals.

It’s what they believe, but don’t expect them to say so until after they’ve gotten power.  In the struggle for the moral soul of the human race, honesty is only a conditional virtue.

Do I sound a tad too cynical?  Well…I’ve been in this fight since the early 1970s, and I know just how these people think, and how willing they are to look you in the eye and lie through their teeth in service to their gutter crawling prejudices.  Case in point, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, who rushed to assure everyone regarding Ruth Kelly’s religious beliefs, that the Catholic church "has consistently spoken out against any discrimination against homosexual persons, and will continue to do so", three years after he’d personally fired a man from his staff simply because that man was a homosexual.

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

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